November 15, 2018

European Commission, IOC-UNESCO Launch Marine Spatial Planning Initiative

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

13 November 2018: The European Commission (EC) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) have launched a joint initiative to promote transboundary maritime spatial planning (MSP). The initiative aims to contribute to tripling the area of territorial waters that benefit from an effectively implemented MSP system.

In March 2017, the Second International Conference on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning adopted the ‘Joint Roadmap to Accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning Processes Worldwide.’ In the roadmap, the EC and IOC-UNESCO state their commitment to achieve SDG 14 (life below water) and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and stress the importance of promoting MSP at a global level as part of these efforts. The Roadmap defines five priority areas and strategic objectives and ten actions for mutual cooperation on MSP in support of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The initiative will disseminate lessons learned and best practices to inform current and future MSP.

The initiative contributes to priority five on building mutual understanding and communicating MSP as part of efforts to better understand MSP practices around the world and learn from exchange of views and best practices. Action ten focuses on creation of an international forum for MSP to “empower a new generation of planners, sectors, businesses and civil society to identify solutions and commit to cross-sectoral actions” to conserve oceans and use ocean resources in a sustainable way.

In support of this action, the three-year MSP initiative will develop guidance on international cross-border marine planning and conduct two pilot projects. One pilot project will be from the West Mediterranean (Algeria, France, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia) and the second pilot will focus on the Southeast Pacific, at the historical Bay of Guayaquil (Ecuador and Peru). Training activities in the Southeast Pacific pilot will also benefit Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. The initiative will disseminate lessons learned and best practices to inform current and future MSP.

The EC and IOC-UNESCO submitted the Roadmap as part of a joint voluntary commitment to the High-Level UN Conference to Support Implementation of SDG 14 in June 2017. The EC provides financial support to the cross-border MSP initiative through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.